Court schedules hearing of Dublin airport challenges to council's noise restriction measures

Court Schedules Hearing Of Dublin Airport Challenges To Council's Noise Restriction Measures
The notice was issued on grounds that the number of flights scheduled by the airport exceeds the terms of a planning condition for nighttime flights. Photo: PA Images
Share this article

High Court reporters

The DAA’s challenge to a notice restricting nighttime flights at Dublin Airport will be heard next month, while its action seeking to quash aircraft noise mitigation measures imposed by a local development plan has been scheduled for September.

The two cases brought by the operator of Dublin Airport challenge separate decisions of Fingal County Council, as the relevant local authority.


DAA, a semi-state body, secured a court order last August pausing the effect of the council’s enforcement notice limiting flights between 11am and 7am to 65 per night.

The notice was issued on grounds that the number of flights scheduled by the airport exceeds the terms of a planning condition for nighttime flights. In seeking the pause of the notice, the airport operator warned it could be forced to cancel thousands of flights.

The court has been told the council stands over the validity of its enforcement notice, which was issued after a four-month investigation. However, the pause to its effects remains in place while the court deals with the dispute.

Ryanair and Aer Lingus have joined this action and can make submissions at the March hearing as parties whose interests are directly affected by the enforcement notice. The Irish Aviation Authority, which is charged with co-ordinating aircraft movement slots, is also a notice party along with a local resident.


On Monday, DAA’s senior counsel, Fintan Valentine, told Mr Justice Richard Humphreys the case is set to proceed over five to six days from March 12th.

The judge also agreed to schedule the DAA’s second planning challenge for September. In the case for hearing in the autumn, the airport authority alleges Fingal county councillors acted unlawfully by prescribing aircraft noise mitigation measures that could cost some €1.8 billion.

The DAA argues the additions are invalid, irrational and beyond the elected members’ powers. They were adopted at a council meeting a year ago against the recommendations of the council’s chief executive.

Fingal County Council and An Bord Pleanála granted permission for the development of the airport’s north runway in decisions that provided for the establishment of voluntary noise insulation schemes for dwellings typically experiencing aircraft noise at 63 decibels.


The DAA claims the county development plan, approved by councillors, went on to include an objective to take measures to expand noise insulation to ensure noise levels reduce to below 40 decibels at night. The authority alleges the elected members exceeded their jurisdiction and “improperly and unlawfully interfered, or sought or purported to interfere” with the regulation of aircraft noise”.

It says the Office of the Planning Regulator wrote to the Minister of State for Local Government and Planning in March recommending deletion of the noise insulation amendment in the plan.

The development plan came into effect in April 2023, but this amendment was paused pending a decision from the Minister on whether to issue a direction on this issue.

Last June, the Minister did direct the removal of noise mitigation measures last June via the Office of the Planning Regulator. This decision is being challenged in the High Court by two environmental protection groups.

This action, brought by the Friends of the Irish Environment and SMTW Environmental DAC, which represents residents of St Margaret’s and the Ward in north Dublin, is due to be heard in September alongside DAA’s noise mitigation challenge.

All of the cases are contested.

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by